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I Can Read with My Eyes Shut!

I Can Read With My Eyes Shut

Owais Samman, an 8th grader at Ames Middle School, may not be able to read with his eyes shut, but he sure can make Dr. Seuss’ classic children’s book fun to read. He debuted his rap of I Can Read with My Eyes Shut at the AMS Talent Show in December after entering the contest initially as a joke between his friends. After comtemplating other books such as Llama Llama Red Pajama, he settled this one and impressed the rest of the middle school student body.

You can watch Owais rap Dr. Seuss on our YouTube Channel.

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Yusef Salaam, One of the “Central Park Five,” Speaks to Ames CSD Staff

Yusef Salaam Central Park Five

On April 19, 1989, Yusef Salaam’s life, along with 4 others, changed forever. On that night, they became collectively known as “The Central Park Five,” when they were charged and convicted in New York City of a crime they did not commit. Yusef was 15 years old at the time.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of that event, and Dr. Yusef Salaam spent January 21, 2019, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, with Ames Community School District staff and students. Dr. Salaam shared his deeply personal story in an incredibly powerful and inspiration presentation. As he walked staff through his journey, he expressed the feelings and emotions that he felt 30 years ago. He was “railroaded into a criminal justice system of injustice,” based on the color of his skin, yet still finds ways to see his unnecessary time in prison as a blessing.

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Update on CTE Programming from Superintendent Risner

Ames High Course Offerings Update

Dear Ames,

I want to provide clarity on the decision to make programming changes at Ames High School next fall. Following an evaluation of our Career and Technical Education (CTE) programming, the addition of a financial literacy requirement, and an assessment of our immediate high school staffing needs, the decision was made to not offer Family and Consumer Science (FCS) classes next year.

Starting in the 2019-2020 school year, the state requires each school district provide 4 out of 6 complete service areas within CTE. Those service areas must offer 4 years of course study in an area to prepare students for post-secondary careers and/or education.

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Ames High to offer an Agricultural Pathway Next Year

Ames High Course Offerings Update

Starting next year, in the 2019-2020 academic school year, we are pleased to announce that Ames High will begin to offer agricultural classes as a part of a pathway that students can pursue. The Department of Education requires that all schools offer at least 4 of 6 service areas in secondary schools. At Ames High next year, those service areas will include:

  • Business, Finance, Marketing, and Management
  • Information Solutions
  • Applied Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Manufacturing
  • Agricultural, Food, and Natural Resources.

When the new Ames High building opens in 2022, we anticipate expanding into another service area: health science, when we begin to offer courses toward a CNA program.

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Kindergarten Registration 2019

Kindergarten Registration Graphic 2

KINDERGARTEN / EARLY KINDERGARTEN REGISTRATION

WHERE: Ames CSD District Office 2005 24th St. Ames, IA 50010

WHAT TO EXPECT:

  • Parents and guardians may enroll children in kindergarten who will be 5 years old by Sept. 15, 2019.
  • Parents and guardians will complete an information form online and a Home Language Survey.
  • Provide the child’s original birth certificate, or duplicate with raised seal; proof of residency (lease, mortgage, house title, or utility bill with current address); and adoption or guardianship papers, if applicable.
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Google Expedition VR

Google Expedition VR

The day when students can visit landmarks from across the world is here, thanks to virtual reality. The District started looking into Google Expedition VR kits as soon as Google released them a couple years ago. Last year, Technology Director Karl Hehr put together a small kit equipped with cardboard cutout headsets, as a “proof of concept” to gauge interest from teachers. Overwhelmingly, teachers were interested in the concept as it opened the world to their classrooms.

Last semester, the District purchased a set of 30 Google Expedition VR units for classroom use. Ames Middle School teacher Dianna Sheldon, along with Instructional Technology Coach Sarah Davison, were the first to test the units when they took students to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The field trip was a companion piece to the book they were reading in class.

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App Smash: Descriptive Papers w/ Green Screen Video

App Smash

Ames Middle School 6th grade literacy teacher Drew DeJong is using the idea of “app smashing” to increase student engagement. App smashing is the process of using multiple apps to create projects or complete tasks. It is a great way to provide students with creative and inspired ways to showcase their learning, and it allows teachers a great way to assess their understanding and skills.

A recent project in DeJong’s class had students write descriptive papers about their favorite place in the world. The quick 300-400 word piece was looking for sensory writing from the students. “I wanted them to really describe their favorite place,” said DeJong. “What does it look like? Smell like? My goal was that the students would show us where they were at.”

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Iowa Department of Education releases new school performance results

Iowa School Performance Profiles

On December 18, 2018, the Iowa Department of Education released new online reports showing how public schools performed in a new accountability system that meets the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a federal education law that replaced the No Child Left Behind Act.

The new reports, called the Iowa School Performance Profiles, include each school’s scores on a set of accountability measures. The reports display scores based on a school’s overall performance, as well as the performance of subgroups of students, such as children from low-income backgrounds. The scores reflect how public schools performed on a set of core accountability measures, such as results on the statewide assessment. The tool displays a school’s score based on overall performance, as well as scores based on the performance of subgroups of students. These subgroups include students who are eligible for free and reduced-price lunch, students receiving special education services, English learners, and students from racial/ethnic minority groups.

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Multicultural Day at Fellows Elementary

Fellows Elementary Multicultural Day

Fellows Elementary held a Multicultural Day for students on September 28 when they collaborated with CultureALL, a Des Moines area company. CultureALL reaches out into the community to identify real people and resources, and connect them to the needs of schools, communities, and businesses. CultureALL programs are about “more than discovering other cultures’ arts, clothes and language. They are about shifting perspective, discovering new concepts, and experiencing differences. We create cultural experiences that spark a desire to know more about the people and cultures around us,” according to their website. Ambassadors from Mexico, Scotland, Senegal in West Africa, Kenya, and Japan helped Fellows students gain new perspectives on the rich cultures that exist within Iowa and beyond.

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Advocate. Listener. Social Worker. Life Saver. Jean Muhammad

Jean Muhammad

The City of Ames is an affluent community full of Iowa State University professors and staff. The city boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state: 1.8% in March 2018 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and is continually ranked as one of the best places to live. The Ames Chamber of Commerce website links to 102 lists that date back to 2009 that include “Best College Towns,” “Smartest Cities in America,” Most Livable Cities in America,” and “Best-Performing Small Cities” type lists.

The Ames Community School District also has lists that point to academic excellence. For the past 6 years, the District has ranked as the #1 District in the State of Iowa by Niche. Ames High has ranked as the #1 High School for the past 4 years. All these lists point to Ames’ favorable economy, business climate, cost of living, and sense of community, and they are all true. Ames is a great community, with a great university, and has an amazing school district.

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